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Postal Package Editor (and API)

by Echo Posted 9th Aug 2009 at 4:27 PM - Updated 27th Nov 2013 at 4:14 PM by Nysha
176 Comments / replies (Who?) - 25 Feedback Posts
Postal is a DBPF3 package editor. That means that it can open up Sims 3 package files, let you poke at their innards, change things around, then save them back into new package files.

Can I run it?
Postal is built on top of Java 6, so if you can run Java 6 then the answer is "yes". That includes Windows XP, Vista and Mac OSX. If you can run the Sims 3, you should be able to run this.
There is one caveat though. Because I'm running Windows, I cannot test well on Mac. Please let me know if you experience any issues.

What can it do?
Postal can navigate all kinds of Sims 3 package files, and parse/display/write many resources, including OBJDs, OBJKs, STBLs, XMLs, CSTRs, GEOMs, NMAPs, DDSs, PNGs, VPXYs, Texture Compositors and the various text-based formats. As time goes on, the number of resource types it can edit is growing.

Postal also has a filetable which keeps track of all the resources that can be used in game. You can use this to search for resources by type, group, or instance, wherever they come from. Postal has a scripting console, and a plugin architecture to allow you to add your own functionality to the application.

The Postal API
The Postal Editor is built on top of the "Postal API". This is a library which speeds up the process of writing custom tools which can read from and write to package files and the resource types inside them. The API is available under a BSD license, which essentially means you can use it however you like in your own tools as long as you acknowledge the original creator and point to a place where the original source can be downloaded. (The full Postal GUI is available under a GPL license)

The Postal API has already been used in other tools, including The Sims 3 Mod Generator and Merlin . There is some documentation on how to use it to build your own applications and how to extend the Postal environment attached.

INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS
- Go to http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp and install the up-to-date version of Java for your operating system (if you don't already have it)
- Download the latest version of the Postal installer from http://sourceforge.net/projects/postal-sims3
- Double click on the file you have downloaded, and follow the Wizard. Make sure you put in the correct path to your Sims 3 installation when it prompts you!

* Mac OSX users, please see this post regarding running Java 6

Additional Credits:
Most of the behaviour here is based directly off the wiki pages describing file formats and resource structures. Thanks to Rick, Karybdis, Delphy, WesHowe, Inge, Peter, Atavera, Pescado and the many others who have contributed their knowledge to that collective effort.
Tags: #Postal, #DBPF, #editor, #api, #stbl, #dds, #geom, #xml

Operating System: Windows Linux Mac OS X
Utility Type: CC Editors
Plugin Type: Not Applicable

You must have the expansion or stuff packs listed below installed to use this custom content. Please see the post text for any exceptions.

Sims 3
Key: - File was updated after upload was posted
Filename - Tip: You can click the magnifying glass to see the archive contents Size Downloads Date
user-installation.rar | Install instructions (same as in post)

Size: 388 Bytes · Downloads: 21,140 · 10th Aug 2009
388 Bytes 21,140 10th Aug 2009
FOR-DEVELOPERS-ONLY-Postal-developer-guide-PDF.rar | Documentation for developers interested in using Postal in their own tools

Size: 308.1 KB · Downloads: 10,150 · 10th Aug 2009
308.1 KB 10,150 10th Aug 2009
Don't forget to Thank the creator after downloading! Use the Thanks button located above the screenshots above.
Quick Guide:

1. Click the file listed on the Files tab to download the file to your computer.
2. Extract the zip, rar, or 7z file. Now you will have either a .package or a .sims3pack file.

For Package files:

1. Cut and paste the file into your Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages folder. If you do not already have this folder, you should read the full guide to Package files first: Sims 3:Installing Package Fileswiki, so you can make sure your game is fully patched and you have the correct Resource.cfg file.
2. Run the game, and find your content where the creator said it would be (build mode, buy mode, Create-a-Sim, etc.).

For Sims3Pack files:

1. Cut and paste it into your Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Downloads folder. If you do not have this folder yet, it is recommended that you open the game and then close it again so that this folder will be automatically created. Then you can place the .sims3pack into your Downloads folder.
2. Load the game's Launcher, and click on the Downloads tab. Find the item in the list and tick the box beside it. Then press the Install button below the list.
3. Wait for the installer to load, and it will install the content to the game. You will get a message letting you know when it's done.
4. Run the game, and find your content where the creator said it would be (build mode, buy mode, Create-a-Sim, etc.).


Extracting from RAR, ZIP, or 7z: You will need a special program for this. For Windows, we recommend 7-Zip and for Mac OSX, we recommend Keka. Both are free and safe to use.


Need more help?

If you need more info, see:
 
176 Comments / Replies (Who?) - 155 Feedback Posts, 10 Thanks Posts
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Test Subject
#26 Old 10th Aug 2009 at 4:39 PM
I'll try this!Thanks for sharing
Lab Assistant
#27 Old 10th Aug 2009 at 6:40 PM
this looks awesome, thanks!

Every second of your life makes you more unique than everyone else.
Everything you choose to do changes society in some way.
Everything you say or hear makes you smarter than you were before.
Test Subject
#28 Old 10th Aug 2009 at 8:32 PM Last edited by kaijinkumori : 10th Aug 2009 at 8:53 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo
kaijinkumori, I believe cameras are stored in text files which are tagged as "CAM" from memory. I don't know how configurable they are though. My guess is that the special-event camera (the "zoom in on important stuff") is probably controlled by code in the script files though.


I don't suppose that there's a way to edit those as of yet, right?
Lab Assistant
#29 Old 10th Aug 2009 at 10:57 PM
When I click the download button on the linked page, I get an error that says, The "Postal Editor/v 0.7/postal-installer-v0_7.jar" file could not be found or is not available. Please select another file. I can't download version 6 or 5 either. Can anyone else download this, or is it just me?

Always choose short hairstyles for your clothing models!
My Sims 1 stuff is still available, because some still play the original game.
Test Subject
#30 Old 10th Aug 2009 at 11:56 PM Last edited by kaijinkumori : 11th Aug 2009 at 12:32 AM.
Has anyone else using OS X gotten this to install? I followed the directions in the text file (which according to the link given OS X users were instructed to simply perform a software update to get the correct Java version) and whenever I go to install Postal I get a popup saying I don't have the correct version of Java installed.

It reads as such:The application that you are trying to install requires a 1.6.0_06 version or later of the Java platform. You are running a 1.5.0_19 version of the Java platform. Please upgrade to a newer version.

Further attempts at performing a software update only end up with the reception of a notice that the software is up to date and there is no new software.

Edit:Nevermind. Apparently for 32 bit systems there is nothing higher than 1.5.0.19 as of yet. This means, of course, the ability for users of OS X to mod for The Sims 3 is still very limited. In other words, it sucks to be an OS X user if you are hoping to mod for TS3.
Retired Duck
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Original Poster
#31 Old 11th Aug 2009 at 1:46 AM
kaijinkumori, script files are the ones which get modified in core mods and the like, so it can be done. I'm not particularly an expert in it though.

Apple has been a bit slow in getting 32 bit Java up to scratch, but fortunately Sun made Java open source a while back so there's a free port to 32 bit OSX available here: http://landonf.bikemonkey.org/static/soylatte/ . Because I don't own a Mac I can't test it for you, but from all reports it should work fine.

BastDawn, I just tried downloading it myself, and it went fine. Occasionally SourceForge can play sillybuggers with downloads, so it might be worth trying again. Here's the direct link, in case that helps:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/pos..._7.jar/download
Test Subject
#32 Old 11th Aug 2009 at 2:37 AM
Thanks Echo. I'll give it a whirl.
Test Subject
#33 Old 11th Aug 2009 at 3:44 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by declandabest
hey mate, i had the same problem. go to the apple website, then to downloads, and you should find java 1.6 in the top downloads bit


Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo
usagibouzu, Apple only upgraded Java to version 6 in Mac OS X 10.5, Update 1. You'll need to run the updates to get to that version


Rock, thanks!
Test Subject
#34 Old 11th Aug 2009 at 8:12 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by declandabest
hey mate, i had the same problem. go to the apple website, then to downloads, and you should find java 1.6 in the top downloads bit


So I'm late to the party and it's not in the top downloads anymore, if that's update 4 I already installed it through software update but it's still telling me I only have version 1.5.0_19... soooo wha? when I search "java 1.6" it's the only thing I find for OSX 10.5.x other than update 1... I've been pretty slack with the updates lately but 10.5.2 was a long time ago, I'm pretty sure that update 1 would've been installed already... I dunno, this make sense to anyone?

Going mental with my complete lack of modding ability for sims 3. I can't get things to work in Virtual PC and the only intel Mac I have is my lappy and I'm not wasting it's minimal HD space with bootcamp.... I JUST WANT TO MOD SOMETHING GRAAAAHHH!!! *cough* sorry... erm... ooh look, beer...
Test Subject
#35 Old 11th Aug 2009 at 8:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Araknis
So I'm late to the party and it's not in the top downloads anymore, if that's update 4 I already installed it through software update but it's still telling me I only have version 1.5.0_19... soooo wha? when I search "java 1.6" it's the only thing I find for OSX 10.5.x other than update 1... I've been pretty slack with the updates lately but 10.5.2 was a long time ago, I'm pretty sure that update 1 would've been installed already... I dunno, this make sense to anyone?

Going mental with my complete lack of modding ability for sims 3. I can't get things to work in Virtual PC and the only intel Mac I have is my lappy and I'm not wasting it's minimal HD space with bootcamp.... I JUST WANT TO MOD SOMETHING GRAAAAHHH!!! *cough* sorry... erm... ooh look, beer...


I have this same problem. Echo linked in the last post made by them to a site that has 1.6 for OSX but somehow I couldn't figure out how to get it installed. Maybe you will have better luck.
Retired Duck
retired moderator
Original Poster
#36 Old 11th Aug 2009 at 8:56 AM
kaijinkumori, I've done a bit of googling, and there are some instructions on installing SoyLatte here:
http://2tbsp.com/node/106
I wish I was able to give you more detail, but the instructions look sound.

Araknis, I'm not very familiar with the Mac platform; are you running a 32 bit machine? If so, then I think Apple has decided to discontinue their Java updates for you, but there's an open source equivalent which I linked to above.
Test Subject
#37 Old 11th Aug 2009 at 10:08 PM
Could someone tell me whether or not Java is free? I know nothing when it comes to stuff like this. I just want to make a few contacts. It seems like a lot to download for a few things, but, I really love to make things, hense my taking art and home ec. next year. I really like it when people understand the itch to make something, even if you have no idea what you want to make when you start. So thank you to anyone in advance for either answering my question and/or putting up with me, and/or making really awsome stuff.
Lab Assistant
#38 Old 11th Aug 2009 at 11:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo
BastDawn, I just tried downloading it myself, and it went fine. Occasionally SourceForge can play sillybuggers with downloads, so it might be worth trying again. Here's the direct link, in case that helps:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/pos..._7.jar/download


Thanks for the link, but even with that, I still couldn't get it to download in Firefox, even after I disabled Adblock and NoScript. I used Internet Explorer (ew), and that did it. I'm looking forward to using your tool!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweeney204
Could someone tell me whether or not Java is free?

Get the free download from the official site:
http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp
Test Subject
#39 Old 12th Aug 2009 at 11:00 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo
Araknis, I'm not very familiar with the Mac platform; are you running a 32 bit machine? If so, then I think Apple has decided to discontinue their Java updates for you, but there's an open source equivalent which I linked to above.


nah I'm on 64 bit, that's what was confusing me... got it sorted now though.

For anyone else having problems like that, you'll need to open up java preferences (applications/utilities/java preferences), in which you'll see two lists, the top one is for web browsers and the bottom one for apps, you'll need to drag SE 6 to the top of the list then everything should be dandy.

Thanks heaps Echo
Test Subject
#40 Old 12th Aug 2009 at 5:32 PM
Thanks so much BastDawn.
Test Subject
#41 Old 13th Aug 2009 at 1:37 AM
I have a mac too, and I've managed to figure out all the java problems and actually start the program, but now I can't get past the Sims Install Path page. It was automatically set to "/Applications/The Sims 3/The Sims3.app/Contents/Resources/transgaming/c_drive/Program Files/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3" which makes perfect sense to me, but it doesn't accept that, saying that "The directory you have chosen either does not exist or is not valid". Has anyone else had problems with this? I can't use the button which I assume is to search for a new location (it's mostly off the screen of the program, so I can't actually read what it says), because then I can't get into the place where I would need to show the package contents of The Sims 3.

Anyone else having similar problems that could offer some advice?
Test Subject
#42 Old 13th Aug 2009 at 2:40 AM
Ah, figured out my trouble. I have The Sims 3 installed, not right in the applications folder in my home folder, but in one just on the hard drive (hold-over from the computer I transferred everything from when I got my new one a few months ago). So, though it was appearing to try to install to the right folder, I needed to specify the other applications folder which actually contained The Sims 3.localized.

Sorry about the needless (and double) forum posts. Now time to try out the program! Thanks Echo! :D
Pettifogging Legalist!
retired moderator
#43 Old 14th Aug 2009 at 12:10 AM Last edited by plasticbox : 14th Aug 2009 at 7:06 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Araknis
you'll need to open up java preferences (applications/utilities/java preferences), in which you'll see two lists, the top one is for web browsers and the bottom one for apps, you'll need to drag SE 6 to the top of the list then everything should be dandy.

Thank you! I was about to download SoyLatte when I saw your post – dragging SE 6 to the top was all it took to get it to work.

Echo, would you mind adding this hint to the OP? I doubt every OS X user knows that this control panel even exists =)

Also, I had a small issue with the installer, see screenshot: the button next to the "Sims Install Path" field ("Choose", I suppose?) was just barely accessible since the field is so long. I'm guessing default font sizes play a role here – might be safer to move the button underneath the field? (Like Beckyk563, I needed to change that directory, it wouldn't have let me install otherwise .. hence why I really needed that button!) -- see below


Other than that, it's up and running and makes a very useful impression =)


--

ETA: changing the "Sim Install Path" to just /Applications/The Sims 3.localized (what Beckyk563 said) was apparently not the right thing to do – it was throwing errors at me that it can't find any of the game stuff, since it was looking right in the "Sims 3" folder and not inside the app where all the stuff is actually located.

I found the following solution (tested, and seems to work for me – when I start and then select "Show NMap Names" it now loads stuff, instead of erroring):

1. Point the installer at random nonsense when it prompts you for the "Sim Install Path"
2. open Postal/packageeditorconfig.xml and substitute the resulting random nonsense <resourceFilePath> entries with the following:



Note there is NO whitespace between Sims and 3 in "The Sims3.app". If it doesn't work for you, your game is probably installed in a different location or your system language is different – select e.g. gameplay.package in Finder, Get Info, and then copy the path from there.

This procedure is necessary because the dialogue that comes up when trying to change the install path will not give you access to anything inside an .app (This is the OS X way of preventing users from messing with things they shouldn't be messing with).


A related issue I had: once it was done with throwing errors, the File - Plugind - Workspace dropdowns disappeared and the dropdown in the first menu was nonfunctional. Didn't matter at this point in time since I was only testing anyway, but may turn out to be a problem when it throws errors after you've have been doing useful things.
Screenshots

Stuff for TS2 · TS3 · TS4 | Please do not PM me with technical questions – we have Create forums for that.

In the kingdom of the blind, do as the Romans do.
Retired Duck
retired moderator
Original Poster
#44 Old 16th Aug 2009 at 8:53 AM
plasticbox, I added a link to your post in the main download description. Thanks for the info, I'll see if I can do something to streamline the install for Mac in the next version.
Test Subject
#45 Old 18th Aug 2009 at 9:12 AM
Many thanks for this wonderful tool, Echo.

I've only got one question:
I wanted to edit a skintone, so I opened the package in Postal and exported the .png. Then I changed it to how I wanted it to look like and now the question: How can I import the .png again? I know there's a button, which says IMPORT PNG under the button EXPORT PNG, but I can't click on it, I can only click on the EXPORT button not on the IMPORT button, what am I doing wrong?
(sorry for my sillyness, I don't know much about things like this...)
Retired Duck
retired moderator
Original Poster
#46 Old 18th Aug 2009 at 12:55 PM
Tzerha, was the original resource a DDS? Unfortunately I haven't quite got the "import PNG to DDS" functionality working yet, and you need to save your image as a DDS. If you have it as a DDS image, then you can go over to the "Hex View" tab and click "Import" to load it.

It's not a silly question, that whole process is a bit messy and confusing at the moment. I intend to make it a bit more logical in the next version.
Test Subject
#47 Old 23rd Aug 2009 at 9:22 AM
Echo, where can I find Postal version 5 or 6?

I just uninstalled version 6 and installed version7 and it does not seem to want to work for me. when I try to add a new package and add resource, if I double click on the file nothing happens, therefore I can't add any of the resource details.
Retired Duck
retired moderator
Original Poster
#48 Old 23rd Aug 2009 at 10:33 AM
Hi candy,

That's a glitch which got introduced with a bug fix. It should be repaired soon. The work-around is to save the package file and re-open it, then you can make all the usual changes.

If you'd rather, you can get previous versions of the editor from here:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/postal-sims3/files/
Test Subject
#49 Old 23rd Aug 2009 at 12:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo
Hi candy,

That's a glitch which got introduced with a bug fix. It should be repaired soon. The work-around is to save the package file and re-open it, then you can make all the usual changes.

If you'd rather, you can get previous versions of the editor from here:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/postal-sims3/files/


Thankyou for the quick reply. I will use the old version until the new one is repaired... and thank you so much for this program, I have been using it since you first released it and I love it. It is so easy to use.
Instructor
#50 Old 23rd Aug 2009 at 4:12 PM
for everyone who's asking how to run Java 6 on OS X, here a link to a quick and easy "how to"

http://gephi.org/support/install-ja...ac-os-x-leopard

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